runDisney Princess Half Marathon
February 26, 2017
Walt Disney World Resort, Florida
Snapshot: All of Our 2017 runDisney Princess Weekend Coverage:
Why I Decided to Run This Race
I use the New Balance Rewards program basically so I can earn points for runDisney bibs. To get a bib for a runDisney race you need 6000 points to be able to get one. Unfortunately you cannot get a challenge bib thru them, so if you are saving up for a race and are determined to run a challenge, it is important to know this.
I had already registered for the Goofy Challenge and the Dark Side Challenge, so when I earned enough points, the Princess Half Marathon was the only runDisney race available that I had not registered for. So, I thought “free bib, why not?” Plus I have run Princess weekend multiple times before and, after taking 2016 off from running it, I was ready to return to the craziness that is Princess weekend!
Race Expo/Shirt Game/Swag Review
Make sure to read my Princess 5K Review to learn all about the expo. Go ahead, go read it and hurry back!
I ran in a grey running tank that said “Be Our Guest” in gold, sparkly lettering with Mrs. Potts, Chip, Cogsworth, Lumiere, and Babette beneath the title. I also wore black Reebok compression shorts, grey VSX Incredible sports bra, black running socks from the 2015 Akron Half Marathon, Brooks Adrenaline 16 GTS running shoes, black 2015 Glass Slipper Challenge Sweaty Band, and a tiara! Yes a tiara, I wanted to be runner comfortable but still a princess.
I also ran with my iPhone in my Fitletic running belt with an attachment pouch, headphones, salted caramel GUs, and my Garmin running watch.
I arrived at the pre-race around 5:00AM with Ashley and Tim and our cheer squad, Mike and Helene. We realized we didn’t have much time to spare so we grabbed a quick pic and headed off to our corrals. For those of you that don’t know, you have almost a mile walk to your corrals before the race so you need to allow extra time for this. Ashley and I entered our corral and the race began shortly thereafter.
Along the Course
Have you ever run the Donald Duck Half Marathon during runDisney’s WDW Marathon Weekend? If you answered “yes,” then good news for you, you already ran this course before. If you answered “no,” then you are in luck.
I made the decision to drop back to my friend, Ashley’s, corral to have a running buddy to keep me motivated throughout the race. We started on Epcot Center Drive near Port Orleans and the back of the Epcot Parking lot. We waited patiently for the corral in front of us to take off, then we knew the next set of fireworks would be for us.
Carissa and Rudy announced “Ready, Set, Go” and the fireworks were ablaze as it was time to start. We started out heading west on Epcot Center drive for the first mile and a half of the course. There was a water station in this stretch along with a local high school marching band. Before we knew it, it was time to head right on the exit ramp to World Drive.
The mile two marker was soon in sight! As we ran this stretch I was wondering if Mike and Helene were overhead on a monorail watching us run along the course, but I’m guessing they were already at their first spot where they would be cheering us on. The first character stop we happened upon was Captain Jack Sparrow with a much smaller pirate ship than years previous. After Jack the next stop was of the Princes (Phoebus from Hunchback of Notre Dame, Eric from the Little Mermaid, Flynn Ryder from Tangled, and John Smith from Pocahontas). We continued to head north on World Drive and passed under the Magic Kingdom toll booths and we could see the second water stop just up ahead followed by the Mile 3 marker. Next it was time to cross over the 5K marker, which is also the first timing mat that let Mike and Helene know where we were on the course.
It was now time to navigate our way thru the Magic Kingdom parking lot and be entertained by the mom from The Incredibles then a small villian stop with the Evil Queen and Malificent. Next we headed to the Transportation and Ticket Center, soon followed by the mile four marker and a drum line.
This is the part of the race where I always start to get super amped and usually get into an awesome running groove. There is something so exciting about knowing that you are less than a mile away from the Magic Kingdom and you are going to run under the water bridge! We ran back toward the Contemporary and made our way downhill to run under the water bridge where the infamous runDisney DJ was above cheering us on! As we came up the hill (which I walked, always.
It was now time to head into Magic Kingdom via a side gate that put us into Town Square. It was time to slow down and take it all in, plus have our eyes open for our Cheer Squad. Mike and Helene enjoyed some sweaty hugs as we headed into Magic Kingdom along with Jessie and her mom, Judy. We then headed up Main Street toward Cinderella’s Castle. Next we turned right and headed into Tomorrowland where we were greeted by Buzz Lightyear. Next we headed toward Fantasyland by running to the right of the tea cups and the Red Queen. We then turned left past Little Mermaid and Seven Dwarves Mine Train which brought us right past Gaston’s Tavern where he was greeting runners and the Beast’s Castle where we found to no one’s surprise, the Beast. It was time to turn left and head back to the Castle. Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff were standing up on a balcony on the back of the castle cheering on all the runners.
Time to run thru the castle and head out front for our Castle pic! I was surprised that there was not much congestion running thru the castle, but once we were thru there was a back up of people trying to stop for a photo op where it would look like they were running thru the castle.
After going through the castle we turned right toward Liberty Square and Frontierland. We turned left to head into Frontierland where we saw Woody. We turned right to head toward Big Thunder mountain then curled around to the left and headed toward Splash Mountain out the side entrance over the railroad tracks where a quick photo op was set up. We headed backstage and saw the parade floats where Cinderella and Prince Charming were set up along with Snow White and her Prince Charming..
Now it was time for a quick water stop and port-a-pot break before heading out onto the most boring part of the course: Floridian Way. At the halfway marker (6.55 miles) they were blaring “Let it Go.” We headed south towards the Grand Floridian Resort where we passed the penguins from Mary Poppins before coming upon the Mile 7 marker. Next we ran past the Boy Band Wedding Singers at the Wedding Pavillion
We ran past the golf course and Travel Genie as we headed toward the Polynesian Resort for our final time of seeing our Cheer Squad, Mike and Helene who had yummy cheetos and Diet Coke waiting for us. Unfortunately they were not able to cross the road to get to us so they literally threw the cheetos to us, but we chose not to have them throw cans of Diet Coke.
Shortly after Mile 8, volunteers handed us Cliff Shots, however thanks to our Cheetos and the Gus I already had on me I was not in need of an extra. The next stretch of the course was pretty boring with no character stops and no crowd support, but there was a water stop in this portion of the course. I was definitely glad I made the decision to run with Ashley at this point.
We made our way out onto World Drive and the Mile 9 marker was within site along with the Princes once again (so we decided to stop). Shortly after this was the 15K marker that sent our expected finish time to our Cheer Squad letting them know we were in the final stretch. We continued on World Drive where we could have stopped for Jack Sparrow a second time and shortly after the Mile 10 we began to climb up the exit to put us back onto Epcot Center Drive. After we climbed up the ramp the Army Men from Toy Story were trying to motivate us to just keep running!
We continued on Epcot Center Drive for a little under a mile as we came upon the Mile 11 marker. Then we had a gradual downhill to a 180 degree turn around that put us on our final stretch toward the Epcot parking lots. The crowd support was still out and it was time to finish strong. The Mile 12 marker was right before we headed into Epcot at the backstage entrance by Nemo and Friends. We were greeted to a rare character meet and greet with Mushu from Mulan.
Once inside Epcot we headed toward Spaceship Earth then ran down to the entrance of World Showcase where we looped around to come back toward Spaceship Earth. In this short down and back we saw Princess Daisy. We took a right at Spaceship Earth and headed backstage where we were greeted by a gospel choir and the Mile 13 marker. It was time to finish the last 0.1 miles as fast as humanly possible at that point with Minnie and Mickey cheering us on.
The medal was gold and shaped like the glass case that encased the enchanted rose in Beauty and the Beast. On the medal is a single red rose and below that it reads, “Disney Princess Half Marathon.” On the part that connects the medal to the lanyard on one side it says, “2017” and the other “13.1.”
All I have to say about the medal is that its fine. That should tell you all that you need to know.
The Post-Race Experience
Mike and Helene were at the finish line cheering us on and I absolutely loved it! Also my brother, Jordan, surprised me by showing up at the finish to cheer as well! It really is nice to have people spectating your race.
After stopping to thank them for coming, the finish procedure was the same as the 5K and we went thru the finish chute per usual for a runDisney race. We collected our water, Powerade, banana, and runDisney snack pack, then grabbed some finish line photos. Next it was time to enjoy what every princess needs after a race… champagne! Mike and Helene had gone ahead and waited in line while we finished up so that saved us a ton of time as the lines were quite long. Now it was time to spend the rest of the day poolside before heading to Animal Kingdom that night to see Rivers of Light.
I made a playlist full of Disney music. After attending the Festival of the Arts at Epcot in January I found some Disney Broadway music to add to my playlist that was definitely a must after hearing Josh Strickland and Ashley Brown sing. New tunes added include from Tarzan Musical – “Two Worlds” and “Strangers Like Me,” from Mary Poppins Musical – “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” and from the Little Mermaid Musical – “She’s In Love.” Definitely some must adds for future running playlists.
Looking Back Now
Would I run this race again? Absolutely seeing as I have run this race four times now. Next year just happens to be the 10th Anniversary of the Half Marathon and the 5th Anniversary of the Challenge, which next year is having a name change to the Fairytale Challenge. I may see another Challenge in my future, maybe…
Enjoy the freedom of going wherever your feet, imagination, & determination take you!
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Enjoy the freedom of going wherever your feet, imagination, & determination take you!